Shut SMS #122

Ha-Rav answers hundreds of text message questions a day! Here's a sample:

Kever Yosef
Q: Based on Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah #364, should we re-inter the bones of Yosef from Shechem out of a fear that the non-Jews will desecrate his grave?
A: We must have strength and courage and not fear.

Hashem's Name in a Language other than Hebrew
Q: Does Hashem's Name in a language other than Hebrew possess holiness?
A: According to most authorities it does not possess holiness, but it is still forbidden to act disrespectfully towards it (such as saying it in the bathroom). Mishnah Berurah 85:10. Furthermore, one should not write it in letters lest it be thrown in the garbage. Shut Achiezer 3:32 in the name of the Tumim.

Davening Out Loud
Q: If someone is davening loudly in shul and it is disturbing me, is it permissible for me to ask him to be quiet?
A: Yes, if it is out of the ordinary.

Intermarriage
Q: My cousin is marrying a non-Jew. He gave me a gift for my wedding. Is it permissible for me to give them a gift in return?
A: No. It is giving legitimacy. It is also forbidden to attend the wedding.

Immersing Utensils
Q: Why do we need to immerse utensils in a Mikveh?
A: In order to bring them into the holiness of Israel – it is a type of conversion. Ramban.

Amuka
Q: I am single. Is it a Segulah to travel to and daven at Amuka for a Shidduch?
A: The best way: Repentance, prayer and Tzedakah.

Tefillat Ha-Derech
Q: Instead of reciting Tefillat Ha-Derech, is it permissible to listen to a recording of it and respond "amen"?
A: No. One must hear it from one who is obligated to recite the blessing, and not from a machine.

Amulet
Q: Do amulets work?
A: Almost all amulets in our time are devoid of value.

First Year of Marriage
Q: I heard that during the first year of marriage it is forbidden to invite guests for Shabbat?
A: It is permissible, but do not over-do it.

Damaged Product
Q: Is it permissible to purposefully buy a damaged product in a supermarket in order to call the company and asked for compensation?
A: G-d forbid.

Danger in Hevron
Q: It is dangerous to be in Hevron?
A: No. It is a miniscule risk, and we may take a miniscule risk for the sake of a Mitzvah or for making a living.

Honoring One's Parents and Ma'arat Ha-Machpelah
Q: I am 15 and want to visit Ma'arat Ha-Machpelah but my parents do not allow it because of the security situation. Is it permissible to pressure them or should I just give in?
A: Try to convince them. If it is not possible, then go beyond the letter of the law…and give in.

Buddhism
Q: Is Buddhism idol worship?
A: Yes. It is idol worship and full of despair.

Halachah and Civil Law
Q: Which is greater – Halachah or civil law?
A: Halachah is greater, and it says to follow the law.

Chabad Parashah Sheet
Q: Is it permissible to throw a parashah sheet of the Messiahists of Chabad in the garbage?
A: No, there are words of Torah in it and it must be placed in a Geniza. In general, disagreeing with someone does not give us permission to shame them.

TV
Q: If one of my family members illegally connected a television to a cable, is it permissible for me to watch?
A: It is certainly forbidden. It is theft. In any case, TV is forbidden.

Money
Q: Does the money in the household belong only to the husband, or to the wife as well?
A: All of the money and property belongs to both of them, since she works - whether outside the house, inside the house or both. If a couple divorces, the Beit Din splits the money equally.

Masada
Q: Is what happened on Masada proper according to Halachah?
A: According to Ha-Rav Shlomo Goren – yes, and according to Ha-Rav Moshe Tzvi Neriya – no. Some historian claim that the whole story never occurred.